Traditional Chinese Beliefs that played a part if Taoism and Confucianism
Taoism and Confucianism both have their roots in the ancient beliefs of Chinese people. The core of Taoism and Confucianism is still based in the ancient Chinese beliefs. Taoism emphasizes the significance of being compatible with nature by balancing the forces of yin and yang. In reference to the traditional Taoist cosmology, matter and force are contemplated to be ruled by five movements. Earth exerts its presence strongly before the beginning of every season.
Taoism is in favour of a simple life. It is a strong follower of acquiring spiritual harmony by incorporating positive attitude, compliance, and serenity in our lives. The simplest way of life is the ideal one. A wise person always complies with to the rhythm of the world.
Taoism is about accepting life and everything associated with it in its natural form. Taoists lay emphasis on natural order of life, giving everyone privacy and contentment. It is usually thought that illness only occur because of sins and bad deeds. The principles of Taoism focus on being generous, frugal and content with life. It advocated strongly against the race for material wealth and possessions.
Confucianism focuses on success and good manners whereas Taoism is a supporter of human qualities such as being humble, simple but outstandingly virtuous. The oldest generations of China had a strong belief in Tao i.e. The unseen forces of natural world. Those people held the view that everything that exists in this nature was based on two forces: the yin and the yang. The Yin was supposedly the female force and the Yang was the masculine force.
Yang (1997) stated that anything which was composed of the yin forces was submissive, cold and shady. However, anything which contained the male force was forceful, scorching and extraordinarily bring. The philosophy of Taoism is usually based on realness, prolonged existence, physical fitness, and eternal living. It is also lays emphasis on energy, lack of involvement, refinement, impulsiveness and metamorphosis. Spiritual Taoism is the original religion of China and this holds prolonged existence and eternal living as the most significant part of its faith. The teachings of Taoism are usually about a virtuous conduct in life and simplicity in all the matters of life.
Taoism is the solely aboriginal set of theoretical traditions and spiritual customs which emerged from the Ancient China, and has its roots in Chinese pantheist and shamanistic ideologies. It is believed that man is supposed to live in compliance with nature through tao, or ‘the way’. Taoists theology accentuates self-cultivation, free will and the quest for an eternal life.
As Taoism is greatly influenced by ancient Chinese myths and beliefs, the Taoist deities were historical personalities who had exhibited their out-of-ordinary powers in their lifetimes. These deities were also associated with ancient Chinese beliefs.
Wong (1997) mentioned about some of the Taoist deities;
Jade Emperor was believed to be the ultimate ruler of all Chinese deities. He is supposed to have created mankind from clay.
Cai Shen was the Chinese idol of success and riches is extensively revered by Chinese.
The Eight Immortals were a collection of Chinese deities who were responsible for fortune and prolonged existence.
The God of War; Guan Di, initially Guan Yu, was a superb general of the armed services and the avowed brother of Liu Bei.
Confucianism also held consequential impact and importance in Chinese life from 100 BC to AD1900. It affected realms of teaching and the administration. It laid a great emphasis on individual deeds and the individual’s obligations to the society. His ethical belief is predominately based on sympathy and consideration. The majorly important aspects of Confucianism were influences of ancient Chinese beliefs.
In the opinion of Confucianism, a good quality life is only possible in orderly society which focuses on formal procedures, sense of duty, ethics, and the service of public. He suggested authoritarian traditional values and was of the opinion nurturing acceptable behaviour at home would result in a well-organized society. The two main important principles Confucianism are; zhong, which is the connotation of loyalty to oneself and humankind, and shu which means to cherish heart at every moment.
Confucianism is a societal system which focuses on morality, not rules and regulations. The basic theology of Confucianism comprises of: kindness, compassion and the merits of the person who is more superior and authoritative (jen). It also gives importance to self-control in all the matters of life (chung yung) and peace with nature (T’ien). Moreover, it also focuses on respectful propriety, sense of duty and als gives rules for personal relationships (li).
Confucianism lays great emphasis on the social way of life. It has a belief that the world of nature, specifically all the seasons, time of day and night, and the cycle of agriculture are supposed to conform to the same code as human race. It holds the belief that that every occurrence on earth is happens because it has already been decided in the heavens. In the same way it also believes that the natural path of incidents, whether we consider the social order or the nature, is an indication of the way of heaven.
In the initial stages, Confucianism laid great emphasis on the connection between ethics and the nature of humans. Confucianism does not give importance to the individual well-being; however it is concerned about the communal prosperity of the entire society. It encourages qualities such as good manners, altruism, submission, respect, and conscientiousness, duty towards society, working collectively for humanitarian causes, communal peace, and compassion. The kind of behaviour promoted by Confucianism was based on a system of agreeable; relationships were based on the philosophy of respectful goodness, a well disciplined family and an organized state.
Confucianism suggests that the value of a person can only be determined by his behaviour with the public. The idea of li describes a set of societal relationships and clearly explained the proper and accepted way with which people should behave with everyone around them. Confucianism is based on 5 kinds of loyalties. Subject to ruler, son to father, younger brother to older brother respectively are the first 3 kinds of loyalties The other 2 kinds of loyalties are inclusive of the loyalty of a wife to husband (female to male), and the loyalty of a young person to the older person.
As according to the concept of li, the person who dominates should always get admiration and submission from the person who is subordinate but even then, he is not supposed to behave like a dictator. Hypothetically, he should reciprocate this submission and admiration with affection, kindness and support so that relationships get stronger. According to the theology of Confucianism, offences should be checked with exclusion and disgrace but not by bodily punishment.
Wiesner (2001) stated that on the authority of Confucianism, the oldest male in the house is the sacred authority on every subject of life. The oldest man is supposed to set rules for the entire family and everyone else is supposed to obey them without any hint of disobedience. This level of obedience should be reciprocated by the oldest man by giving support and taking care of everyone in the house. Confucianism does not support the theology of equal love for all and sundry.
Confucianism supports the idea that it is essential to show reverence to parents for the duration of their lifetime. People in the old age are supposed to be respected because although they are physically frail, they have unmatched knowledge and wisdom. This emotion is expressed in the “elders first” ritual, of the central ceremony of the new year of Chinese. In this ritual, younger ones bow down to everyone who is older than them. The compliant goodness theology of Confucianism motivates…